Every person is special.
No one looks like, acts like, or feels exactly like anyone else, even in the same family.
It is good to have friends, and to always be proud to be yourself with your friends.
Differences make life more interesting and beautiful. There are differences in all things.
Everyone is different from everyone else, but we are all people who need to be loved, respected, and to belong.
Language and literacy experiences
To introduce this theme, collect and provide enough of the same style hat for each child. Young children love wearing and play with hats, so they will love participating when you let them know that you have hats for everyone to wear! The first day, as children wear the same hats, offer them unbreakable mirrors, to allow them to see that even though the hats all look alike, everyone still looks different because every person is different, no matter what we wear! Talk with children about how sometimes dressing the same can mean affection or caring for someone else, as with brothers, sisters, family or friends. Sometimes, we show a team spirit by wearing a uniform. These can be good reasons for doing something alike. On another day, provide different, unique hats for each child, and ask which experience was more fun and why. Talk with children about how it feels good to make personal choices, to be ourselves, and be respected for being ourselves, and not like anyone else.
“Special Me” Song
This song can be used throughout this theme, with changes daily to promote children’s awareness and appreciation of unique personal characteristics. It makes a wonderful greeting song for small group time as the day begins, too.
Tune: London Bridge
No one else has a smile like mine,
Smile like mine, smile like mine
No one else has a smile like mine
I am very special!
You should insert a different attribute each day, such as eyes, hair, nose, as well as character traits, like patience, helpfulness, etc along with individual children’s names, to give it even more personal meaning for children.
Special Because Books
Each day of this theme, provide half-sheets of construction-size papers with headings of “I am special because…” and allow children to write or draw what makes him/her special each day throughout this theme. Write children’s words to describe their drawings. Collect pages and bind them with rings, yarn, or ribbon, and encourage children to create their own personal cardboard cover for the “Special Because” books!
Provide unbreakable mirrors for children, and give them different moods or emotions to portray in the mirrors-bored, angry, nervous, etc. This activity can go on and on, because children love making faces and laughing with friends, too. Talk with children about what helps them feel better when they are feeling upset or angry, and ways to help when family members feel this way, also.
Fingerprints are completely unique to each person. Talk with children about how fingerprints can be used by police officers and scientists to prove who a person is. Provide several colorful ink pads for children to use for making thumbprint people or designs-ask them to add details like hair, eyes, arms, and anything else to make their creations complete! Craft stores and novelty companies feature ink pads at very reasonable prices, and these creations are lovely to display!
On the Day You Were Born by Debra Fraser Harcourt Children’s Books (2005)
The beautiful language and illustrations join in lovely concert to help children realize that birth is a wondrous event, and what I like best is that older children can enjoy it in a deeper, broader sense and relate to how birth affects nature, and how Earth fits into the universe. Younger children simply love the focus on themselves, babies, and family!
I Loved You Before You Were Born by Anne Bowen HarperCollins (2004)
Incredible illustrations and lyrical text combine beautifully in this beautiful book that is a keeper for your library! In a day when grandparents may not be able to have physical closeness they once did in families, this story reinforces that their love is very near and real.
Today I’m Gonna Like Me by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell HarperCollins (2002)
This book has been around awhile, but kids love it! It’s whimsy and honesty keep it fresh and fun, and it helps young children to find their uniqueness without becoming too serious!
Music and movement
Move to your mood
As you transition through the day, invite children to choose the mood and the movement-Laura wants to run happily outside, Deon is moving sleepily to the table for lunch, etc. This simple activity helps children put words to moods and feelings, and is inclusive to all.
Children’s choice music
Give children the choice in choosing rest time and other music through the day. Be sure the music played on a regular basis reflects a variety of styles, artists, and cultures.
The “Special Me” song described earlier also meets this area.
In special celebration of your children, invite them to draw themselves on your drive, sidewalks, or parking area. Provide sidewalk chalk, and encourage children to be partners in tracing around each other! Have fun adding faces!
Songs and fingerplays
“Special Me” song fits here, too.
The Me I See Poem
Provide unbreakable mirrors for children, and recite this poem together with motions.
I look in the mirror, and what do I see? (Point to head, questioning.)
A very wonderful, special me! (Point to self.)
Beautiful eyes, shiny and bright (Point to eyes.)
My smile shows my teeth pearly white! (Smile wide and point to teeth.)
It certainly is great to be
The very wonderful, special ME! (Hug self.)
Describe Me Rover
In the style of Red Rover, invite children to play this calling game, but instead of calling names, the children must describe the child they choose, and end with the phrase,
“That’s who we want over!”
Encourage children to create sand portraits of each other, with one facing the sand, while the other faces away, and only gives description in words of herself/himself. How well do they match?
Science and math activities
Penny for Thoughts
Provide paper cups or plastic containers labeled with each child’s names. Through this theme, for whatever period you choose, every time a child offers a special idea or suggestion, offer a penny for their container, and let them count them at the close of the theme.
Compare reflections seen in the mirrors with reflected images everywhere you find them through this theme. What do children look like on the car, the water, or anywhere else you see reflections! Talk with children about how and why reflections are so different.
Using a simple shortbread or sugar cookie dough, invite children to push his or her thumbprint into a very personal cookie and enjoy!
Allow children to choose a component of the daily snack through this theme-the bread, fruit, vegetable, juice, etc. and whether snack will be served indoors or out!
Add a variety of mirrors and clothing in a variety of children’s favorite styles and colors. Compliment their selections daily.
Collect a variety of cardboard and paper boxes, and invite children to use markers, fabric scraps, stickers, or any other suitable items to make each box-block unique, then see all the ways they design with these custom blocks!
Who Is It? Lotto
Create lotto cards, similar to bingo, with photos of children in your group. Instead of calling out names, describe something about the child, and the children can cover the photo when they guess who the child is. Children love this game, and want to play again and again! Cover the cards with clear contact paper or laminate for durability.
Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood: Adventures in Friendship DVD (2005)
In his own gentle style, Mr. Rogers shows how friends can get angry or upset, but still love and care for each other.